What is a “Spec Book”?
A “Spec Book” – Project Specification Manual – is a document listing all of the designs & materials involved in a construction project. Spec books offer an opportunity to design the project down to every detail, and make the best decisions about design, materials, construction timeframes, and other choices that assure a perfect final product.
Spec books include schematics, design mood boards, 3D renders, materials schedules / procurement lists, and other information the project requires. Spec books can range from 20-30 pages to 200 pages or more, for large projects.
The process of creating the spec book requires collaboration between the designer, the architect, the electrical and mechanical engineers, and other professionals involved in the project. This collaboration lets the designer detect and address weak spots and inefficiencies, so they can be corrected during the design phase, before becoming expensive post-build issues.
Carmona Design specializes in creating complete interior design solutions for multi-family residential and commercial projects, and rendering them in highly detailed, informative, and beautiful spec book documents.
Contact us today, and find out what a difference we can make in your next project!
Table of Contents
A spec book is more than just floorplans. It’s an assurance that the design is beautiful and functional, and every detail it involves has been considered and addressed. As a developer or builder, you have a responsibility for the entire project, from the structure to the finished look and marketability.
- You’ve secured the land.
- You’ve secured the permits.
- You’ve secured the financing.
- You need to secure the design.
Choosing Carmona Design to create the interior design package and generate a well-researched spec book will bring a multitude of benefits to your project.
Here are some of them:
We don’t do “cookie-cutter”, and we don’t repeat ourselves. Every building we design has a fresh perspective, from the overall style down to the details. We start with understanding your general design vision and analyzing the intended audience, then blend it with our extensive design experience, and create a design package that’s perfect for your specific project.
Layers Of Review
We start with a thorough review of all floorplans. No matter how experienced and qualified an architect is, their primary focus is on structural details and code compliance. User experience is our kingdom, and we have made improvements on every set of architectural plans we’ve come across, no exception.
We check every aspect of the project – space usage, lighting placement, traffic flow, and much more. We don’t operate in a vacuum. Throughout the process, we’ll communicate with your architects, engineers, and project managers, to ensure everyone is on the same page. This approach detects any potential issues and resolves them during the design phase, before they become expensive at build time.
Our design process is cost-conscious, and we know the materials & solutions that make your build look stunning without costing a fortune. In addition to choosing the right materials, we provide the required volumes & amount as well as pricing, so you can see the exact material costs for every space.
Other designers may show you a picture of a tile. We’ll tell you that you need ABC square feet, at XYZ dollars per square foot, and the line total. Your project manager can then easily add the labor cost per square foot, and you’ll know exactly how much a particular design decision will cost. We don’t like surprises, and we’re sure you don’t either.
We will also provide the sources, so your team can access product information and supplier contacts anytime it’s needed.
By having the design decisions planned out, your project manager can schedule the production of custom items, purchasing of ready-made items, and structuring the work schedules in a more efficient manner.
Our spec books are organized into sections, with an eye on their intended use in the build. Visuals like 3D renders power up your investor presentations, schematics and explanations show your contractors exactly how to implement the design vision, and material schedules & procurement lists for your purchasing specialists to ensure all the pieces are in place.
Your marketing team and realtors will appreciate having a full suite of content at their disposal, so the property can be marketed even before it’s built – beautiful 3D renders, detailed descriptions of amenities and features, and other assets. In addition, our in-house marketing team can collaborate with yours, creating whatever is needed to sell the property. We’ve designed it, we know every square inch of the space – nobody is in a better position to speak about it.
Having a spec book developed lets you review the entire project at a glance.
When the architect creates the floorplans, you know the building is solid. When we’re done with the spec book, you know it’s solid and looks good.
You’ll have every aspect of the design at your fingertips – from the overall style, down to every paint choice and light switch placement.
Your marketing team will get a head-start on developing a marketing strategy, confident in the underlying materials.
As you can see, a design package and spec book from Carmona Design offers benefits that affect every stage of the development process, and have the potential to yield savings in the multiples of the cost of our services.
Volume & Layout
Our spec book process adapts to the various needs of different projects. There is no “one size fits all” solution; books may range from 20-30 pages for a small project, to 200+ pages for a complex high-rise build with multiple amenities.
Regardless of the book size, it will provide all the information & specifications necessary to finish the project:
- Floor Plans
- Common Spaces
- Unit Layouts
- Individual Rooms (kitchens, bedrooms, etc)
- Mood Boards / Design Concepts
- 3D Renders
- Materials Schedules (Procurement Lists)
- Project Notes / Commentary
- …and more
Digital Or Print
The spec book will be provided in the industry-standard PDF format, which is viewable and printable on almost every computer, tablet, and phone in the world.
If you would like to have the PDF password-protected or otherwise restricted, or output in a specific sub-format (PDF-A, PDF-X, etc), please let us know.
The default page size is “Tabloid”, 11″ high x 17″ wide (2x the size of standard 8.5″ x 11″ Letter size sheets), equivalent to the European A3. This page size allows us to display complex floorplans, detailed notes, and 3D renders in high resolution.
Of course, if you would prefer a different paper size, simply let us know at the beginning of the process, and we’ll adjust the template.
Spec books are an important part of any major project. They provide a common ground between the architect’s vision of the building itself, the designer’s notion of the interiors, the builder’s timeframe and budget restrictions, and other factors.
Spec books can save time, money, and aggravation. By reviewing the intended use of each space, our design team comes up with the most logical, effective, and sensible ways to create a beautiful and unique environment – without resorting to extreme costs or extraordinary efforts.
It’s easy to “design for looks”. It’s much more complicated to figure out the right materials that fit the budget and needs of the project, while accommodating the comfort and lifestyle of the intended users. A major part of our spec book process is thoroughly reviewing every room and public space, making adjustments until it’s perfect.
Hiring our firm as your interior designer means getting an original, fresh, cohesive design that showcases your home and individual style, while creating a comfortable and safe environment.
The Spec Book compiles all of these ideas into an informative book, that will guide your contractor to create our exact vision.
In addition, you get to keep the spec book as a memento, part of the home’s history, and a reference guide for future repairs or replacements.
Benefit: complete design guidance, future reference materials.
For Builders & Investors
We provide exact calculations of materials & surface areas, so you can plan your labor costs & schedules more precisely.
Our designer discounts & wholesale sources result in better pricing for materials & fixtures. We do NOT charge a designer’s percentage fee.
Custom decor (laser-cut, artwork, etc) & lighting solutions can yield significant savings versus off-the-shelf items.
Benefit: lower costs & tighter budgeting control with fewer surprises at build time.
Part of the spec book process is creating detailed schematics and 3D renders of the major spaces & environments. These visual materials can be used for marketing the property even before construction is completed. Wow your potential customers with beautiful renders while explaining the key selling points of the project.
In addition, since we designed the space, we can provide detailed descriptions of amenities and features, which can be incorporated into your marketing materials – or use our specialists to create marketing materials directly.
Benefit: less work for your in-house marketing team, faster results, shorter timeframe to commission.
Our Floorplan Review process considers the plan from the viewpoint of the designer and the intended user, giving us a fresh perspective that often reveals a better way to lay out the space, relocate mechanical elements, and/or change the amenities.
We’ll communicate with your in-house review team to coordinate the suggested changes and additions.
Benefit: better layout & fewer mistakes / inefficiencies.
3D renderings are an important part of many development projects. They help with project presentations to investors, guide contractors to the intended final look of the space, and assist realtors with marketing the property.
Once our design team creates the visual environment and makes the design decisions, our 3D artists get to work turning it into “virtual reality”. We can create an unlimited range of renders – interiors, exteriors, detailed close-ups, custom artwork & logos, and much more.
Our 3D team works with industry-standard solutions such as Revit, AutoCAD, Sketchup, Lumion, Blender, and Enscape, to accommodate any use-case and level of detail. So whether we’re making a custom shelving unit for an office, or considering how a modern house will look at night, there is nothing we can’t visualize.
3 words: “Unique”, “Detailed”, and “Complete”.
Our design team creates unique, fresh looks for any residential or commercial space. Guided by Tammy Carmona’s extensive experience in the design field, our professionals put together a cohesive style that showcases the best aspects of the space.
Then, we go over every detail of the project, choosing the materials, furnishings, lighting fixtures, and other items. We consider looks, usability, material & installation costs, long-term durability and maintenance, and other factors that go beyond the visual. Throughout the process, we communicate with our clients, make adjustments, and coordinate with the architects and other specialists, to ensure our design meshes flawlessly with the rest of the build.
Finally, we compile a complete spec book, that includes the mood boards & schematics of every space, beautiful 3D renders, materials schedules, and shopping lists with sources & pricing.
Tammy Carmona, our Chief Designer, has extensive experience in several design fields, which gives her a uniquely complete perspective that’s an invaluable addition to any development project.
Tammy is an award-winning florist, with credentials that include designing the entire wedding scene in the Hollywood blockbuster “Twilight: Breaking Dawn”, which earned 4 industry awards for set & floral design; winning the prestigious “Tulip & Pansies” floral design competition 3 years in a row; and much more. Tammy’s ability to select the perfect floral or nature-inspired decor accent can elevate any residential or commercial space.
As an event producer, Tammy knows how to work under tight deadlines and account for every detail of the project. When you’re planning an Oscars party or a wedding at the Cipriani, there is zero room for error – and she translates that precision to her interior design projects.
Having created 100s of product designs, including exclusive glassware and collectibles for the Disney Corporation and custom dinnerware for Gordon Ramsay, she knows how to analyze the needs of the intended audience and choose the ideal materials and fixtures to accommodate them.
When you choose Carmona Design for your spec book project, you get access to all of this multi-dimensional experience, supported by a team of professionals that includes 3D artists, construction and architecture consultants, and other specialists.